The Arth Series

The Arth Series
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Saturday, 29 April 2017

The TEABAG Goblins 11

As the TEABAG goblins walked towards the electric shield it dispersed in the section that led to the Fenegan outpost. The door opened and Smetherwick marched in followed by the other two. What a scene they saw inside. Both Ruhtra's sitting at table sharing a pot of tea and scones.
Ruhtra's looked up, “It's about time you rescued mus. Me's had enough tea and scones to last two weeks!”
Smetherwick looked at Vinigrette, “Let's get scone,” he punned, “we don't seem tea be 'preciated here.”
(Scone there rhymes with scon not stone, depending upon your pronunciation.) Re-read, laugh.

The end.


Thursday, 27 April 2017

The TEABAG Goblins 10

“Sounds like a plan,” nodded Smetherwick, “now let's be on with it before we get shot at by a ticked off bigfoot.”


There was not much cover between the goodish goblins and the badish ones. As they zig zagged towards the ASDAG and the outpost the enemy gun lined up on them. “Do you think they know we're goblins?” wondered Tunning-Cymbals.
“They probably think we're green dwarves re-wondered Smetherwick.
Vinigrette took his hat off and waved, “Cooee!“
The ASDAG lurched a little as it fired its payload. It fell about 10 yards short.
A definite shudder was felt beneath their feet.
“What!“ exclaimed Smetherwick, “was that a warning shot?”
They were a little stunned at first but continued to zig zag towards their foe. About a minute and a
half later the ASDAG had reloaded and fired another shot, this time falling behind them.
“That's it,” cried Bartram from the Talent, “we have about a minute and a half before they reload
for another shot.”
“Couldn't we just dodge around in the sky, make us more difficult to hit?”
“Of course, but it's good to be prepared, and we know how long we've got before we need to be
lucky.”
She settled down again and looked through the iron sights at the three ant-like TEABAG goblins.


Jamestown was puffing heavily, “I'm not cut out for all of this zig zagging, I usually get the
servants to do it for me.” He was slowing down and falling behind the other two.
“Throw us the flare gun,” said Tunning-Cymbals, “you hide behind that fortuitously placed granite
boulder that didn't seem to be there just now.
Vinigrette tossed him the flare gun and the extra flare then drooped down behind the boulder.
Traiton flipped the side door open to have a better look at what those three small green dwarves
were doing. He cracked his eyes (not literally, they're not eggs) to see more clearly. They were
goblins!
This did not compute properly in his android brain. Goblins were underlings, grunts to be grown
quickly for war. What were these three doing on a British airship?


The two goblins zagged across, right in front of where Traiton stood looking at them.
“Quick zig,”ordered Smetherwick. And so they both zigged, back to the boulder.
Puffing, Tunning-Cymbals asked, “Do you think he saw us?”
“Two goblins zagging across his line of sight? I think so!”
“What happened?”asked Vinigrette.
“Traiton had got out to have a look at us?”
“Did he like what he saw?”
“What!”exasperated Smetherwick.
There was a large deafening boom as the ASDAG fired at the boulder. Shards of granite splintered from it and rocked towards the three cowering goblins.
“Great,” greated Smetherwick, as Arthur might well have done in this situation, “we come all this way to get killed by an armoured artillery gun by our own goblin kind.”
“They're not kind at all,” noted Vinigrette, “they're trying to kill us.”
“Well we've got about another minute and a half before they fire at the boulder again. Another few hits and this thing will be in pieces, leaving us no cover whatsoever.”
“How close is it to the end of the story?” asked Tunning-Cymbals.
“I think we'll die before we get there,” reiterated Smetherwick, if you pardon the wrong usage of language.
“Who's the fastest at running?” asked their leader.
Vinigrette and Tunning-Cymbals both pointed at each other.
As he shook his head he accused Tunning-Cymbals, “You know you are TC. I think you should run as fast as you can after the next shot, towards the ASDAG and fire the flare at the eye-slots, try and blind them. Bartram should see it and begin his attack.”
Tunning-Cymbals looked worried, “What happens if I miss?”
“Fire the second flare.”
“What happens if that one misses?”
A look of unbelief developed across Smetherwick's face, “You can't be that bad at shooting? Didn't you win a medal for it at the village fête in '84?”
“I've pulled my shoulder since then.”
“You're pulling my leg?”
Vinigrette also joined in, “He's trying to pull the wool over your eyes.”
(I couldn't think of any more pull clichés...)
“It'll have to be me then,” thought the goblin leader, “I'm not as fast at running but a good shot.” He pulled up his trousers and tightened his belt.


And so he waited until the steam cannon had fired another shot at the badly crumbling boulder. As fast as a hare running down Harehill he sprinted towards the enemy vehicle. When he got to within 60 feet (with only 30 seconds to go) he aimed a little high and fired the flare. It bounced, off the armour, and fell into a field, quite close to the electric shield, with a fantastic fizzle.
He reloaded, it took but a second and this time he aimed a little lower. The flare shot straight through the aiming window.
From inside he heard goblinish screams and then the side door burst open. Four goblins scrambled out, gasping for air and unable to see properly. They looked like green moles at a Gollum convention.


Bartram saw that the goblin mission had been a success and so directed the Talent towards the ASDAG.
Ann fired the front cannon and the shells bounced against the armour. She called to the yeti captain, “Get me near the open door.”


Traiton was still inside his tank thing and sat in the aimer's seat, ready to fire at the attacking airship, “A little closer,” he murmured as he set his eye against the sight.
The Talent crossed in front of the tank and so Traiton fired at it. A hit, upon the starboard fin.
Wobbling slightly, Bartram managed to stabilise her and hovered over near the door. Ann changed to a side gun and she fired at least 50 shells into the infernal machine. Most of the control mechanisms were bent out of shape, as was most of Traiton. The only thing that worked on him was his head. After a slight click he detached it and floated out of the ASDAG., right in front of Ann's Hotchkiss cannon.
“Whoops!” he exhaled (he looked a little like Lukas from The Sun Thief.)
Smetherwick and the other TEABAGs rounded up the enemy goblins, who were suffering from shock and awe, with their electric pistols.

“And now to rescue Ruhtra,” said I and had to let Smetherwick, Tunning-Cymbals and Vinigrette do it to keep the story flowing properly.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

The TEABAG Goblins 9

Now, because this story is supposed to be about the TEABAG goblins, and not about Ruhtra, we return to them.


Ginster craned his head forward to the place where they saw Ruhtra mashed up. He brought the Talent in low and hovered over the area. “Some help please gentlemen,” he shouted at the goblins.
The posh goblins jumped down from the airship and began to look about on the ground like greedy men looking for a penny. Soft Ann trained her gun towards the enemy tower.
As the goblins were availing a message came through on the overly large radio communication equipment. “We've had a report, from the Fenegans, that Ruhtra's at Brug in the North of the island.”
The yeti captain nodded in acknowledgement and signalled back, “Righto!“ He then shouted to the away team, “It's OK, he's not here, he's in Brug.”
Sighing as they all climbed back onto the Talent the goblins moaned especially Vinigrette, “They could have contacted us sooner.”


Something might have happened at the tower, but I had not thought of anything and Lord D'ark wanted to rest after the shock of being shot at by a female Bigfoot (well, wouldn't you?)
Traiton however, being an android, did not need to rest and thought he'd lead a goblin hunting party to hunt the goblins. He just caught a whiff of the Talent (it must have been Bartram's eau de cologne) and mobilised an armoured steam vehicle. (Though not a tank, they hadn't been invented yet - unless you count the one by Da Vinci.)


There was no way a steam powered armoured vehicle was going no to catch a nippy little airship so I had to think of a plot device where that might be possible.
Time travel?
Portal?
Teleport?
Wormhole?
Lift by ultra-fast airship?
Or I could just say that the Talent breaks down for just long enough to allow the steam tank to get in front and of them and block their way to the Fenegan entry post.
This could lead to a long, drawn out section where they all bond together, but I read Lord of the Rings when I was 19 and the bit with Sam and Frodo really slowed me down, so...


“There,” sighed Soft Ann as she placed the wrench on the deck plate, wiped her dirty brow with a cloth (though you couldn't really tell) and climbed up to the rest of them. “Who would have believed I would have to do a full engine rebuild with a multi-wrench and a Swiss army knife.”
Vinigrette looked at Smetherwick, “Was the Swiss army knife invented this early?”
“Who can tell without Google?”
The yeti called out as he grabbed the steering wheel, “Let's fire her up.”
As the electric motor began to whirr the finely balanced Tesla coils did their work and the Talent started to rise gently.
“Who would have thought,” remarked Tunning-Cymbals, “two weeks in enemy territory rebuilding an electric engine, hiding from goblin scouts and living on iron rations.”
“At least we won't be anaemic when we get back.”
“Eh? I thought you were going to say something about Wolfenstein and Enemy Territory.”


Before I could think of anything Bartram zipped the Talent towards the end of the story.


There, parked before the outpost, chugged, hissed and steamed the steam tank (although it should really be described in another manner.) Traiton ordered the crew to, “Load the cannon, I can see them.” A single shot wouldn't do, they really needed more firepower, maybe a couple of machine guns!


The Talent way outgunned the steam tank but one good shot from its opponent would do for her. Bartram knew this and therefore kept his distance, hovering over 500 yards away. “So this is why we were held up for two weeks.”
Ann commented, “We can tank them on.”
“Eh? It's an Armoured, Steam Driven, Artillery Gun so the acronym should be ASDAG.”
“It's ASDAG price?” misquoted Ann, but only those people who have seen the ASDA advert, of the well known Northern British superstore chain, would get that reference.
“Stop being so obscure, I have only ever heard about the ASDA supermarket chain from looking at future copies of the Times FT share index.”
“Huh!“ puffed the female bigfoot knowing that he was being just as obscure. She looked through her iron sights, “Are we just going to look at them or what?”
“I think we need a diversion, draw their line of fire. We also need to know how quickly they can re-load that thing, because that's the time we have to close on them for the kill.”
“What about the armour though, won't the Hotchkiss cannon shells just bounce off?”
“I don't know, I haven't been in an action before with a heavily armoured vehicle. We will have to take our chances.” He shouted down to the galley, “Oi, you three, you're the diversion. Get out of the Talent, with the flare pistol, and get close enough to fire it into their front window. When you have, get out of the way quickish, Soft Ann and I will finish them off.”


This irked all three of the TEABAG goblins, for not only were they half way through their afternoon tea, but that they would also have to harm other goblins. They all started grumping about the spoiled tea and how inappropriate for upper class, traitor goblins, to kill lower classes in the pay of some off-worlder female empire builder who must look like a man, for that is what her impersonator was.
“I CAN HEAR YOU MOANING,” shouted Bartram, “get the flare gun, get off the ship and get going, or I'll let Ann fire a few rounds at you!“
“Well really,” tutted Smetherwick, as he fumbled for the flare gun and his green jacket.
“We'd better not get killed in this stupid adventure,” re-tutted Vinigrette.
Tunning-Cymbals jumped to the ground ahead of them and crouched in typical goblin manner.
“Stop messing around TC,” reprimanded Smetherwick, “your mother's genetic line is not that bad.”
Tunning-Cymbals straightened up with a, “Cheek! I don't mind harming Traiton,” he admitted, “but I draw the line at hurting other goblins, unless they're from the Black Hand Gang.”
“Well that goes without saying. Traiton is an android after all, and part of the evil Nefad.”

“So kill him and just blind the other goblins? Unless they're Black Handers.”  

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

The TEABAG Goblins 8

Arthur stood there giving the TEABAG goblins a dressing gown. (I meant down but gown sounds funnier.)
“I don't want this,” balked Smetherwick as he handed Arthur the dressing gown back, “it's pink!“
“Not a girl's colour in this time and dimension,” spoffed Arthur.
“Still...”
“Now look here,” continued Arthur, “you left Ruhtra behind.”
“He's dead,” re-iterated Tunning-Cymbals, “Shill told us so.”
“He's not, I have it on good authority...”
“Which authority?”
“The Author authority.”
“Oh, do you believe in him?”
“It goes without asking, anyway he wasn't killed just mashed up a bit so that you lot have to rescue him.”
“Why us?” moaned Vinigrette.
“The story's about the TEABAG goblins?” he looked forcefully at them, “that's what YOU are!“
Smetherwick looked at Vinigrette, “We'd better do it or we'll not get paid by the Funny Character's Union.”
“Are you Union spies or not?” queried Arthur.
“Erm, sort of,” thought Smetherwick, “we're part of the Funny Character's Union Special Fun Force.”
“And what's that when it's at home?”
“We observe Union members and if they're not funny enough we can either revoke their licence...” Arthur immediately went into his slapstick routine with Sid, who was quite non-plussed. Smetherwick looked disparagingly at the Colonel/King. “Or...”
Arthur stopped, hoping that his 'slap a pork pie in Sid's face' was good enough to keep him in the Union.
“We have the authority to make things funnier.”
Sid spat out the crumbled pork pie, “I hate the pork pie slapstick routine,” he grumbled, “it makes me feel that snout is sacred.”
Smetherwick got out his notepad and compared notes with the other goblins, “Snout,” he compared, “it IS a pig joke...”
“But not necessarily a pork pie joke,” warned Vinigrette.
“Oi'll give it foive,” utterated Tunning-Cymbals (if anyone is old enough and British enough to understand that reference, if not then look at Janice Nicholls and 'Thank Your Lucky Stars' on YouTube.)
The TEABAG colonel looked absolutely agog in desperate panic to see if a five was good enough to keep him in the Union.
“What about me?” moaned Sid.
“Automatic 10,” replied Smetherwick, “even adjusting for the racial bias between goblins and dwarves.”
Sid smiled broadly at Arthur and nudged him, “Automatic 10.”
Pulling a sour face Arthur lemoned it into the next chapter.






CHAPTER FOUR

“A lemon, a lemon, my kingdom for a lemon.”
I made Arthur say as he waved off the Talent and it flew away to re-rescue Ruhtra.


In the belly of the Tesla coil powered airship Smetherwick was looking at Vinigrette and spoke softly, “I can't wait till this gig is up. It sickens me to have to work with dwarves and elves.”
“Me too,” bawled Vinigrette, “I want to get back to bashing them not befriending them.”
“What about Ruhtra though?” suggested Tunning-Cymbals, “he's a wicked shape changer, turned good. It shouldn't take a lot to to set him back on the road to destruction.”
“Like a knife in the back it was to so traitorously treat our own goblin kind at the tower of Awat.”
They all looked goblinish and nasty until Soft Ann popped her head round the door, “Tea anyone?”
They quickly put on their snooty faces.
“Er, Darjeeling for me,” said Tunning-Cymbals.
“Assam for me,” quoted Vinigrette.
“Lap...”
“Sorry,” interjected Soft Ann, “we only have Theran Eran, or coffee.”
“Oh,” snooted Smetherwick, “erm, coffee then, for us all.”
She popped her head back out and they heard her in the galley getting the cups ready.
What was happening there?
They all looked at each other like The Sweet in a Ballroom Blitz.


Brug was on the island where Corsica would have been on the earth. The tower of Awat was in the South of the island, Brug was in the North. The safety of the electric shield kept Brug from attack, the tower of Awat had no such protection. To get back inside the safety of the electric shield, he's would have to make contact with the outpost about 6 miles before the city. He's could not pass through the shield or he's would turn into green jelly again.
“Mmm,” mmmed the lesser of the two Ruhtra's, “green jelly, I like that.”
Ruhtra 1 thought it but didn't say anything.
And then they saw the outpost, part of the Fenegan empire.
He's didn't know much about Fenegans, well, about any of this world really. He's would have to play it by ear (or ears?)
The Fenegan entry post was well fortified in case giants or other enemies tried to access the protection of the area behind the electric shield.


Two gun turrets surveyed the skies about the area and a large artillery piece looked out to sea to guard the approach from that direction by naval units (no, not navel units!) [Swimming belly dancers by chance?]
As he's approached, a gun turret lined up on them.
“Ooer,” exclaimed Ruhtra 1 from the side of his mouth that was facing forward.
An authoritative voice spoke from a Tannoy system, “Name your business, or be shot.”
As quickly as he could speak from the side of his mouth Ruhtra 1 spat, “Secret mission to rescue our Queen, gone wrong, stomped on by Lord D'ark's Pegasus.”
“Mmm,” hummed the voice on the other end, “I didn't quite understand that, but your outfit shows that you're from the British colony. I'll assume you're lost and need help.”
Ruhtra's heard the microphone being switched off.

The roving gun turret re-aligned itself on the sky and a door opened into the entry post.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

The TEABAG Goblins 7

Meanwhile, somewhere under D'ark's feet...


Darkness, pain, separation, hunger. A Mc Donut's would do, and a Mc Cola of some kind, maybe an Agricola... or Pensacola.
As you may have guessed, Ruhtra was not dead, just in pieces. Now it's not a very good thing for a shape changer to be separated from him/her/itself. With no Zathanian fluid around to make up any shortfall, the lack of body liquid could mean that he couldn't reconstitute himself.
If he could reconstitute himself, he might still have problems and end up as two of himself.
(This was obviously a humorous plot twist by me, any dedicated readers knowing that a single dominant Zathanian could swallow others [See The Detective One].)
Oh no (wink) what will happen?
Splurp. He squirted out of the earth just as D'ark and Traiton had left. He felt funny though...
Splurb... another of himself appeared, quite close, he was the dominant one.
[Hang on He (the original) was the dominant one or He (the second one) was?]
In fact neither was dominant, they were exactly half of Ruhtra, each.
“Oi you,” said little Ruhtra 1 in a slightly squeaky voice.
As little Ruhtra 2 said, “Oi you.”
It was a bit like a gnomified echo. They both ran at each other to try and glob into one organism but something stopped them and they both bounced off one another.
“What!” they both explained, together. “How can we get anything done if we are both saying and doing the same thing at the same time?”
“I don't know,” I replied, “I haven't thought about this properly. Just wait a little and I'll see if it gets funnier.” But it didn't seem to.
One Ruhtra was fine enough but two, doing and saying the same thing at the same time? What could I do with them? Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum? Small tug of war? Boxing match/game where one's red, one's blue and they look like those old fashioned toys?
“We can solve this,” said the Ruhtras, “one of us could be the left and the other the right.”
“OK,” replied I, “who's going to be the right?”
“Me,” they both answered.
“And who's going to be the left?”
“Him,” they both pointed at each other.
“I think I have a solution, both of you can be the right side, it's just that one will be facing backwards/forwards and the other will be facing forwards/backwards.”
“Uh,” they both uhed. “I want to be facing forwards/backwards.,” they both chimed.

“You can,” said I as I made them each take a half of Ruhtra so that he was looking both forward and backward at the same time.
“It looks like we've got two heads, one forward and one backward.”
“Well it's either this or I choose who will be the Ruhtra to be first and put a time delay on the other so that he speaks and acts after the first.”
“No thanks,” they replied, “we'll get along as we are.” But them not having a dominant one , they began to spin around instead of walking forward.
“This isn't working,” I thought, “either as humour or as a concept.” So by the power of my
imagination I got Ruhtra 1 to be the slightly dominant but not enough to join together and swallow the other one up one. They began to move forward. So that Ruhtra 2 didn't feel too bad I got him to think that I wanted him to walk backwards. It worked well enough to get him/them walking towards the town of Brug where he could be rescued by the others...

Friday, 21 April 2017

The TEABAG Goblins 6

Ruhtra and the others were sailing out of the outskirts of the area surrounding the tower of Awat (though how they got a sailboat to perform on dry land I'll never know, unless I imagined it of course.)
The desk commander called after them, “Oi, you lot, stop!“
But of course they didn't.
He called to the guard, “Call general alarm.”
“I know General Slogbottom and General Ptaan-Ptaan but I don't know who General Alarm is.”
The desk commander spat, “I mean call out the troops, after those goblins, now.”
The guard ran after and the others. So the desk commander scuttered back into his office and called out the troops on the Tannoy like system, “ Now hear this, get after the goblins in the unfeasibly imagined the sail boat.”
And now, on the good land ship Pollilop, the six of them sailed through the last check point and into the wilderness that led to their airship.
“That was easy...” smiled Shill as the unfeasible land yacht came to a halt. “What's happened now?” he turned and asked Ruhtra, who had transformed into a Captain Yellowbeard figure. (Now if that causes copyright problems then he could appear as Captain Dreadbeard.)
“Arr lad, we be out of wind.”
“What, ye ate no beans before ye did the mission?” also acted like a pirate Shill.
“That it be.”
“Foof!“ foofed Shill in derision then noticed an army of goblins chasing after them.
Smetherwick also noticed and ordered, “Quick, off the boat, we need to make a run for it.”
“What, like a chicken run or something, to keep the yacht in?” stupidly asked Tunning-Cymbals.
“Clot!“ clotted Smetherwick who clotted so much that he couldn't move.
Shill grabbed the clotted Smetherwick and set off, followed by the others. Luckily he was heading towards the hidden Talent.
They were going to make it, thought I, before I thought again and decided that if they escaped now then this short story would only be two and a half chapters long, not four. But they were still running to the airship, and, the airship saw them, well Bartram spotted them. Well not spotted, as in drew spots on them, but saw them. And again the ship didn't see them, if it did it would need some kind of AI in it (though a reprise of F10NA might be a good idea!)
The yeti forced the steering arm up and the twin balanced Tesla coils did their work. The Talent floated into the air and towards Ruhtra and the others.
“We're going to get away,” grimaced Shill, not at all reading what I had to say on the matter.
Soft Anne fired up the front Hotchkiss cannons and gave the escapees covering fire. The shells exploded in front of the goblin horde.
“This in't no good,” moaned the desk commander as one of his wooden desk legs was blown off. “Where's Lord D'ark when you need him.”
“Of course, I had forgotten that Lord D'ark was supposed to be in this story but had just read the beginning again and was reminded of it.
“Who stole my unfeasible land yacht!“ screamed D'arkas he flew over to them on his black-winged pegasus (you know, the one he had in The Crying Pennant.)
Holding his busted leg, the desk commander pointed to Ruhtra and the others, “Them Sire.”
D'ark goaded his Pegasus whose wings flapped forcefully, directing it towards the shapechanger.


Soft Anne was still directing the fire at the ground in front of the goblins and, though she saw D'ark on his winged mount, did not think he would be much of a threat.


However, D'ark was an excellent pegasus rider and was able to fly up to Ruhtra and land on him. (Could I make some kind of joke here about Ruhtra turning into a landing strip?)
But before I could think of a relevant joke or pun, Ruhtra had been squashed and turned into his green gelatinous state. The pegasus trampled the green goo at D'ark's command.
“You monster,” cried Shill as he picked up a stump of wood to whack the horse's behind.


This being a cross between a steampunk Victorian world of Thera and the fantasy/sci-fi/horror dimension of the Arth series, D'ark pointed at Shill with his left gauntlet and shot a ray of electricity at the impersonator, “Did that shock you Queen?” he boomed through his megaphone mouthpiece.
The shock had caused Shill to leap about 10 foot in the air and come crashing down upon Vinigrette, who had the wind knocked out of him.


Soft Anne saw all of this happening but did not want to shook at D'ark in fear of hitting the others, “Get me closer!“ she growled at Bartram. And so he forced the footplate down to re-direct the Tesla coil energy into a forward not hovering position. While he did this the female bigfoot grabbed for a scoped rifle, hoping to bring the Dark Lord down in a more accurate way.


“Well that's it, the Dark Lord's dead,” thought I, not wanting to kill him but not wanting to rescue him either.


I didn't have to, Traiton did. The living android thingy saw D'ark mashing the TEABAGs and thought he'd join in. He got between D'ark and Soft Anne's line of sight. When she fired she hit Traiton's adamantium head. The bullet bounced off, but struck him with such force that it knocked him into the black pegasus. This sent D'ark tumbling off and into a ditch.
“You blithering fool!” shouted D'ark, covered in mud, as he saw Shill and three TEABAG goblins climbing onto the Talent. The pegasus flew off and D'ark could do nothing but shake his fist at the escapees and chide Traiton, who was as muddy as he.


The atmosphere was electric, they were buzzing a bit like an Electabuzz in a bee hive.
“We did it yeah!“ yeahed Shill.
The goblins were all looking very pleased with themselves.
“Did you get him?” enquired Bartram from the bridge.
“Of course we did,” replied Smetherwick.
“Where is he then?”
“The big guy dressed as the Queen?” pointed the goblin.
“I thought that was Ruhtra in disguise. Where's Ruhtra then?”
“Err,” erred Smetherwick, “dead?”
“DEAD!” whelped the yeti captain. “Are you sure?”
Vinigrette interjected, “Well, D'ark's pegasus did mash him to bits.”

Thinking for a bit Bartram then reasoned, “Well I never really liked him anyway. Let's get back to base.”

Thursday, 20 April 2017

The TEABAG Goblins 5

And then he was falling, but not down, up. What a strange sensation it was. He soon arrived on the
landing of the top floor, followed by Blintington Smetherwick, Tunning-Cymbals and Jamestown
Vinigrette, (and the goblin guard.)
The goblin guard barked orders, as a sheltie may do, "Put him in the cell opposite the special prisoner."
Vinigrette pushed Ruhtra to the left.
"I said OPPOSITE the special prisoner."
So Tunning-Cymbals pushed him in the other direction, then looked at the guard, who was frowning with both hands on his hips.
Smetherwick now pushed him to the centre, then looked back at the guard, who was still frowning.
And so it began, each of the TEABAG goblins pushed Ruhtra in a different direction, Three Stoogily.
The goblin guard looked up and raised his hands, then turned and walked into the down hole to
disappear from this scene.
"Stop it, stop it!" spat Ruhtra as they continued to push him.
Tunning-Cymbals did it one more time, Ruhtra glowered at him.
'Now," squeaked the shape changer, "since we've been left alone, we can get into the cell to rescue
John Shill."
"Which one?" asked Vinigrette.
"Um," pointed Ruhtra randomly, "that one," and pointed to the wrong one. So I forced him to go
to the right one.


Knock on he door.
Oggie the goblin looked round, "Who's that I wonder?" He was mid-way through a critical roll with his space marines. He shook his head and got up to see who was at the door.
"Hello," squeaked Ruhtra, "I've come to play In Her Majesty's Name with her Majesty."
"We're playing a variant of 40k actually."
"In The Emperor's Name?"
"Why yes!"
"I don't mind swapping my D10s for D6s, and using my Praetorians as …"
Oggie thought for a moment, "Er, are you a prisoner?"
"No, part of John Shill's rescue party."
"Oh, so you don't want to play 40k then?"
"No, now do you want us to knock you out or are you going to be part of our team, we need a seventh?"
"Will it hurt?"
"If we knock you out or if you become the seventh?"
"Either...?"
"Either," replied Ruhtra.
"I'll go with the seventh, seeing as I'm a seventh son."
"So seven of seven then, that can be your Borg designation."
"Is that a Swedish name?"
"And what do you know about that Oggie, you are a cloned goblin, a hundred years in the reader's
past and on an alien planet."
"What, aren't I allowed to break the forth wall or what."
"Not yet son, not yet. I'll tell you when you can." At that he turned curtly around and motioned for those rescued and initiated into the TEABAG goblins to follow him down the rabbit hole, (so Christened by me because it sounded like a good name for the fally down fally up tube thingy.)


CHAPTER THREE

As they hit the ground (from the teleportation left thingy) Ruhtra looked ahead. He saw the guardian goblin near the door and sucked some air in through his teeth (now if he had sucked some air in with his teeth that would be weird, or maybe not so much - for a shapechanger.)

Smetherwick spotted this and wondered, "Have you got your full powers back yet?"
Ruhtra squinged a bit and grew full size, "Yes!" then realised, "I can skin him."
"What!" exclaimed Shill because he misunderstood Ruhtra's intent even though he knew the comment was about him.)
"Have you not read Ground Hog War?" the shapechanger asked Shill.
"No, hardly anyone has, no stars on Amazon. (com or .co.uk?) even, well, maybe one five star review from the Author's biggest fan.
Shaking his head, Ruhtra empathised with the Author then explained to Shill, "I can cover you in a thin, disguising membrane, to make you look like a tall goblin."
Hobgoblin?"
"Yes, are you up for it?"
"I suppose so," shrugged Shill, "or this story will never get anywhere."
And so Ruhtra skinned him.
This made them ready to get through the guarded exit. As they walked towards it the guard nodded at them in acknowledgement then pressed the big green button that opened the entrance door. The portal flibbled open. Upon passing through, Rhutra found it difficult to keep his shape, luckily he was not spotted by the guard.

However, the desk commander had a monitor in his office but didn't quite understand what had happened. He thought his screen had gone on the blink and banged it hard with his fist. The monitor wobbled and fell off. He made a cursing sound and then scattered towards the door to look out at the exit.
Ruhtra had just about settled down.


The desk commander saw nothing wrong but still felt uneasy, "What's wrong?" But he didn't answer himself, after all he was a strange looking creature in a made-up sci fi/fantasy, YA type of book, why should he. Nevertheless (but definitely not neverthemore) he decided to act. "To be or not to be..." he started, but as we know, I didn't mean that kind of acting.
Like a crab on a hot tin roof he scattered down the passageway and got there just as the portal had closed. "You fool!" he screamed at the guard.
"What do you mean Desk Commander?"
"I had an uneasy feeling about that party of goblins that has just left."
"Did you act on it, 'To be or not...'"
"Yes," wibbled the desk commander, "I've already done that 4th wall joke."
"Whatever," minched the guard as he hit the green button again to open the doorway.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

The TEABAG Goblins 4

Vinigrette looked into the air, "Is he daydreaming again?"
But too late, for an unexpected unit of guards came upon them (now this was a bit unfair, but I was paying Vinigrette back for saying I was daydreaming.)
Ruhtra quickly turned into one of the goblins they had captured earlier. And the enemy unit passed them by without a how's-your-father.
Blintington-Smetherwick whispered out of the side of his mouth when he was out of earshot of the enemy unit, "What, no comedic repartee, but only a misquoted cliche?"


And then they were at the tower (they had miraculously circumvented/navigated their way through the heavily infested goblin camp that made up the Outskirts. Something else must have been happening, I'll try to think of what it might be later!) 'Twas an ominous edifice that emanated a darkness of pure evil. But it's maw was closed in such a way that Ruhtra would have to shape-change to get them in.


So as a bird, a tasty morsel of a bird, Ruhtra flew up to the highest point of the tower. It was through the window (protected by anti-shapechanger technology) that he saw John Shill playing a war game with a goblin. He turned into slime to try and seep through the cracks in the wal. "Oh blob!" he exclaimed, "anti-shapechanger technology!" This time he turned into a not-too-tasty slug and dived to the ground, towards the others.
The slight thud upon Tunning-Cymbals' shoulder caused him to jump out of his skin (not literally, after all this is supposed to be suitable reading for Young Adults.) "You scared me there!" he blurted.
Ruhtra shook his little green slimy head, "Anti-shapechanger technology."
"Well how are we going to get in then? No perceivable door and the windows sealed with anti-shapechanger technology?"
Ruhtra managed to morph into a smaller version of himself, (as Arthur.) "I don't know," he slightly squeaked in a higher than usual tone.
"Ideas section?" asked Smetherwick.
They all ummed but nothing came to mind.
"What about asking the Author?" asked Vinigrette.
But I had no ideas, it was late and I was tired. And so the story came to a complete stop until either I or they came up with something.


A bit of pottering around later...
"Ok?" Oied a goblin guard, "What do we have 'ere then? A British prisoner?"
"Err...?" erred the TEABAG goblins all togethErr!
"Well we'd better get him in to see the boss then," with this remark he clicked a small token and a portal appeared in the wall.
"Ooer," ooered Ruhtra, "even more anti..."
Blintington-Smetherwick budged him to stop him giving the game away.
The new goblin grimaced at Ruhtra, "Is he a dwarf or a gnome? I can't tell."
"Cheek," fumed Ruhtra as the TEABAG goblins bundled him into the tower.


Into the valley the airship plummeted as she clung onto the rail...


"Sorry, is this the same story," asked Ruhtra as I stopped daydreaming.
Of course it wasn't, it was possibly something happening to Lizzie McBean in maybe a book of the future. As I was thinking about this they all marched up an ascending passageway, passing strange blue doors, until they got to the boss's one.
Knock knock (knock knocked the lead goblin, you know, the enemy one.)
"Anter," mispronounced a voice on the other side.
As the lead goblin opened the door they saw a goblin commander inside, seated as a desk.
Now that should be a spelling mistake, but let's go with it.
"Sir," said the lead goblin as he led Ruhtra in.
"Time for a few furniture puns then," noted the smallish King Arthur shapechanger.
"Hmm," hmmed the desk-like commander.
"Things like 'table a motion' and 'you be the chair'," burbled Ruhtra.
"No puns please."
"Or what? Will you deck me?"
"That's not a furniture pun," remarked the lead goblin.
"I know, there's only sofa you can go in a story like this."
"No puns," re-iterated the commander as he shuffled his desk legs around a bit like a giant crab.
“So are those legs a steampunk addition then?” asked the diminutive one, “a bit like Loveless in The Wild Wild West.”
“The one with Will Smith or the one with Robert Conrad?” asked the desk.
“Will Smith.”
“Mmm...maybe, depending what the Author can get away with,”


(So now, because I've spent so long doing other things, I have to figure out where they are and what they have been doing.)

  • Captured
  • In the tower (of Awat)
  • They need to get to the top
  • How?
The desk commander then broke into my thoughts “...take him to the top of the tower, put him in the room next to the special prisoner.”Ruhtra's eyes expressed his hidden glee as Blintington Smetherwick turned him bodily around and forced him out of the door.
Of course the TEABAG goblin had no idea where he was going.
“Wrong way Grog, you need to be going down to go up,” shouted the goblin guard who had led them into the room.

Smetherwick gurned a little as he pushed Ruhtra towards a hole in the ground.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

The TEABAG Goblins 3

“Now that's a mixed metaphor, and should not be used.”
“Are you a grammar Nazi?”
“We're too early for Nazis.”
“Grammar Napoleon? He's an earlier dictator.” Then Ruhtra turned into Napoleon.
Smetherwick admired him, “He wasn't that small was he really, about 5' 7” I would say.”
Ruhtra looked at him with disdain, “Goblins would say he wasn't that small, seeing as they're only about 5' tall.”
“We are slightly taller than the average goblins,” explained the goblin leader, “as we are part of the goblin nobility.”
Just then, as if to bring this part to an end, a couple of random goblins turned up, as if the Author had rolled an 8 on a goblin encounter table.


CHAPTER TWO

"Fatagh!" Spat the first goblin.
"Rawer," rawred the second goblin.
"Great," thought Ruhtra, "they can't even speak English!" He then thought he would change into a butterfly to try to remain in earshot of the two enemy goblins.

However, thought the Author, remembering the bad decision he had made 30+ years ago when he was playing the Marvel Superheroes RPG. [He had had the ability to turn into three people and any creature. He turned one of himself into a fly, to listen to some bad guys, and got swatted in the process!] The butterfly must not get too close...
Blintington-Smetherwick started to grumble, "I thought we were supposed to be capturing one of them?"
Tunning-Cymbals heard this grumble and replied, "Let's just capture one ourselves." He clipped a clip of needles into his electric pistol, (standard TEABAG issue for non-lethal missions.)
Taking aim at the rearmost goblin he fired... and hit butterfly Ruhtra who, because of the electric shock, immediately turned into his green gelatinous state, fell on the two enemy goblins and accidentally captured them.

"Well I never," blew Blintington-Smetherwick, "did you mean to do that?"
"Err..." erred the other goblin, "yes."
One of the captured goblins began to shout. He expelled so much air that that Ruhtra started to bubble up around him.
"Great," moaned Smetherwick the 3rd, "if he keeps ranting like that Ruhtra's green bubble will expand so much that they'll see it from the tower."
"Let's pop him," suggested Vinigrette.
"Not on your Nellie!" exclaimed a Ruhtra-like mouth that formed near the three TEABAG goblins on the green bubble. Instead, when he had regained enough composure, he turned into an iron cage. "You question them Tunning-Cymbals. They might find it a little strange to be questioned by a cage."
"Not if that Cage was called Nicholas," replied Tunning-Cymbals before he realised that
he wasn't supposed to know that modern pop culture reference. He looked at the foremost goblin. "What's your name?"
The goblin poked his arms out of the cage and sneered, "What's it to you?"
"I want to know if we're related. Can you hear me mother?"
The goblin began to give his clan call sign, "Wahaay..."
"Shhhh," shushed the other captured goblin as he bash d his friend to stop him revealing the sign.
Smetherwick and Vinigrette came over to discuss what they should do next.
"We need to threaten them," threatened Vinigrette.
"Why are you threatening me?" asked Cymbals.
"I'm not, I'm just suggesting it. It was the Author who described me as threatening instead of suggesting."
"Oh," vented Cymbals, "OK then, I'll threaten him." He looked at the forward facing goblin, you know, the one he had spoken to first. The one who was surly. "Just don't tell me then if you're related to me. I'll just get the shapechanger to pull off your arms."
The spoken to goblin quickly withdrew his arms from out of the gaps in the cage.
"Or your legs," threatened Vinigrette.
The captured goblin began to dance around to keep from stepping in the gaps of the cage beneath his feet.
"Bazinga!" Shouted the hopping goblin.
"Ba-da," quoted Vinigrette
Tunning-Cymbals looked at him, "where did ba-da come from?"
"Oh, home..."
"You mean the Dreamworks film?" He mused for a second, "Is that a call sign from your mother's tribe?"
Vinigrette looked a little ashamed, "What if it is?"
"It's just that my mother's tribe didn't associate with your mother's tribe."
"What was your mother's tribe's call sign then?"
"Have you finished?"
"Why?"
"No, that was my mother's tribe's call sign."
"Oh, I see. We'll never mind, we're brothers now."

Ruhtra was listening to this exchange and decided to say something, to get the story moving again.
"Something!"
Vinigrette, Smetherwick and Cymbals looked at him. "Trying to get the story moving again are we?" derided Smetherwick.
"Of course, we've only been here for three months."
"No we haven't," disagreed Vinigrette.
"No not here," explained Ruhtra, "but stuck at this part in the story because the Author was going through a crisis."
"Again?" questioned Cymbals, "it must be his age."
"Or that he's an eccentric," thought Vinigrette.
"Ahem," ahemed Ruhtra, "it matters neither way, we must rescue Shill."
"Oh yes," flibbled Smetherwick, "it is such a time critical mission that the Author takes three months off."
I got a bit annoyed with Smetherwick and decided to give him size 14 feet.
"Ouch," he cried as his feet grew. He was lucky I allowed his boots to grow to the correct size as well.
Ruhtra looked at Smetherwick's feet and started to dance around in anger, "How are we supposed to get into the camp now. No normal goblin has feet that size!"
For a minute Vinigrette thought, "He could be a wandering clown."
The shapechanger nearly popped, then calmed down, "Where's the face paint?"


After about 10 minutes they had face painted Smetherwick.
He looked in a mirror, "I look a bit sad really, can't you make me look happier?"
"The tears of a clown..." quoted Ruhtra.
"Eh?"
"When there's no one ar..."
I stopped him there because I didn't want to pay the copyright fee for using song lyrics.
"Abound," finished Tunning-Cymbals, just in case there were any copyright legalists among the readership.
"He looks good enough," looked Ruhtra, "let's get on with it."
"What do we do about those two," asked Vinigrette, nodding towards the enemy goblins.
Ruhtra took out his stun pistol (though where he was keeping it I have no idea) and shot one pin at each enemy goblin. They fell, stunned, to the floor.
"Now let's be on."


They arrived at the outskirts of the tower of Tawa.
(Outskirts, thought I, without looking on Google, I wonder if it has something to do with a ladies outermost skirt on a crinoline?)
Now this thought belied the fact that I, the Author, had done a G.C.E in the History of Costume when I was at Art School. Maybe that's where I got the idea for Victorian Adventure from...

Sunday, 16 April 2017

The TEABAG Goblins 2

(Arthur met the three snooty, noble goblins and thought they'd be good enough. Then he introduced them to their gunner and pilot. The gunner was a new character, a female bigfoot called Soft Ann Squatchy. The pilot was Bartram Ginster of Goblins Versus Yetis fame.)


The tower of Awat (which is only the name Tawa turned around backwards) didn't so much loom in the distance as flibble. Now flibble isn't really a word and even if it was I don't know what it means. Something similar to loomed but either more or less ominous depending on my mood.
"What's he on about?" listened to my thoughts thought Ruhtra.
The goblins seemed to have no idea what he was on about and thought that he might have been speaking about Bartram. Now Bartram had no direct orders so, using his common sense, landed behind some tallish trees and bushes to hide the ship from the tower.
"What is he doing?" moaned the shape changer who assumed he was in charge even though he was just a liaison officer. He went to see the yeti. As he entered the bridge he started to chunter, "And what do you think you are dong?"
"I had no direct orders so..."
"Sew?"
"No so."
"No no, sew so."
"What does that mean?"
"Not sew but so?"
"So?"
“Erm, to get back on track, why did you land so far from the tower?”
“We don't want to be seen by the bad guys before we get there do we? We want to remain inconspicuous for as long as possible, until we have the queen at least. They might phase back into that semi-dimension thing the Author mentioned at the beginning.”
“Pantomime dame.”
“Whatever.” Ruhtra rolled his eyes (but not along the floor as he could do), “I suppose you're right, I'd better change.”
“What into?”
“A goblin prince, what else. You two can wait with the ship until we get back. If I make the signal then come and pick us up.”
“What signal?”
“Er, a flare in the sky?”
“Have you got a flare gun?”
“No.”
“Well how are you going to do that then?”
“I don't know.” Bartram reached into one of the drawers of the bridge and retrieved a flare gun with two flares and then handed it and them to Ruhtra.
“Why two flares?”
“In case one doesn't work.”
“Oh,” ohed Ruhtra as he morphed into a goblin prince then accepted the flare gun and flares.


As the four of them were on the way, Tunning-Cymbals was whacking some high grass with a stick.
“Who are we supposed to be again?” he shouted towards Ruhtra.
“Erm...” ermed Ruhtra, because he had not thought that far forward.
“What!” exclaimed Smetherwick the 3rd, “we are just walking into an enemy goblin camp without a proper backstory?”
“You're goblins aren't you? Wibbled Ruhtra in his general direction.
“What does that mean, we're from a different tribe?”
“Clone factory don't you mean,” inserted Jamestown Vinegrette.
Smetherwick looked witheringly at Vinegrette, “That's not the point,” he looked back at Ruhtra, “goblins from different tribes don't get on unless they have strong leadership. We don't know any of the call signs or special phrases.”
“What special phrases?” queried their temporary leader.
“Every tribe uses special phrases in conversation with other goblins to feel part of the group and to find out if there are spies among them.”
Ruhtra wondered, “So what are your special phrases then?”
“Can you hear me mother!”
“Very Sandy Powell,” withered Ruhtra.
“Sandy Powell?” queried Tunning-Cymbals.
“Don't say that it's just a coincidence that you are using one of his catch phrases?”
“It's just a coincidence.”
“I said don't say it !”
"Actually you said 'Don't say it's just a coincidence that you're using one of his catch phrases'." Corrected Tunning-Cymbals.
"Very corrective of you TC," then Ruhtra looked in my general direction.
So I came up with an idea and gave it to TC, who looked at it but couldn't read my writing and guessed, "I think that we will need to kidnap one of their goblins to find out the tribal phrase."
"Kidnap?" queried Vinigrette,"couldn't we just trick it out of one of them? A bit like that Johnny Depp film."
"We could try to trick it out of him and if that doesn't work then kidnap him."
"Do we really need to do all of this?" moaned Ruhtra, "I could just morph into a copy of one of them and walk through the base to rescue Shill."
Smetherwick reminded him, "Anti-shapechanger technology?"
"Do they have it?"
"Maybe."
Ruhtra thought to himself, "I'm going to need a piece of technology to deal with that in future stories." He pondered for a little then mused, "If I can get a look at a couple of them then I can copy one of them and engage the other in conversation. Then we don't need to kidnap anyone."
"But that's not as fun," pointed Blintington Smetherwick.
"OK then," agreed Ruhtra, "we'll try it your way first. If it fails then they may raise the alarm, and then where will we be?"
"Here?"
"Yes," nodded Ruhtra, "but I didn't mean that. I meant we will be up a creek with no paddle."
"Couldn't you can use a more apt metaphor, something like in the English club, or porridged?"

"English porridge?"

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Easter Present: The Teabag Goblins part 1

It is a whole year after the time I wanted to give out The TEABAG Goblins as a present, last Easter. I have finally finished the handwritten story and typed most of it in (yesterday.) So without much ado, continue...


The TEABAG Goblins part 1

There were goblins, giants and dark elves in SAASA. But for Arthur and Sid to work with goblins then they would have to be or do something special. What could be that special? Or maybe special skills. What special skills could be that special? And why would they be working with the East Anglian? Making chocolate, weapons, fun? And what about the yeti and the Bigfoot that are appearing in the LEGO pictures put on Instagram by the Author, what have they to do with anything? We know that the yeti is Bartram Ginster from Goblins Versus Yetis, but who's the Bigfoot?
So I need some names for some goblins and a Bigfoot and a back story as to why they're working with the East Anglian. Maybe they could be like the French Foreign Legion, a regiment made up of nation-less men, rejects from their own societies. But the Special Operations Section of The East Anglian are supposed to be an elite unit specially trained for behind the lines missions. Maybe they need goblins (and possibly a yeti or Bigfoot) to infiltrate enemy units. It is well known that goblins can smell dwarves and that dwarves can smell goblins. Except that Colour Sergeant Sid Scubbins is not a complete dwarf. He is a hybrid clone who is slightly taller and undwarfish (or should I say undwarvish there?) Ruhtra the shape changer could pretend to be a goblin, a yeti, a Bigfoot, well anything he likes really. But maybe they need more than one.
Right then, names. Bigfoot, Bernard Squatchi. That's good enough, or maybe a North American first name. Mmmmmm, Little Dog Squatchi? Running Bear Squatchi? I know, Soft Ann Squatchi. That's funny enough and it introduces a female Bigfoot. Now the goblins. They could be upper class goblins who have fallen foul of the Nefad and desire to get back at their previous masters. Upper class goblin names? Blingtinton Smetherwick the III, (good) Jamestown Vinegrette the second Earl of Shortbread. Um, Winston Algebra Tunning-Cymbals. And now the back story.
A long long time ago in a land right next to where you are now, just in a different dimension, there stood a tower, a wicked evil place full of wickedness and evil. This was the hub of the nether region, a sub-dimensional pocket from whence the Nefad were planning their attack on Thera. (No, not the second book in the Theran Chronicles, but their attack on that planet.) If you have read Sid and Arthur's Steampunk Adventure then you will have heard all about the Nefad. They were growing a goblin/Bigfoot/yeti/dark elf clone army with a few giants thrown in for good measure. Traiton, the sentient android was there after his great failure in SAASA. His master was also there, Lord D'ark. They were in the throne room right at the top of the tower conversing in conversation.
“Now is the time for us to attack through the portals into Thera,” said D'ark in a manner similar to Richard III in Richard III.
“Yes my lord,” agreed Traiton, “but we need a few more weeks for the goblin army to be fully grown.”
“What do you mean?”
“They are all children at the moment, even though the ageing process has been speeded up. If you don't mind an army of ten year old goblins attacking with the rest of your forces then we can attack straight away.”
“The uniforms I have ordered will be too large for goblin children. They will be attacking in their boiler suits, that won't do at all. Can't we speed the process up?”
“We can my lord, but they will die of old age faster.”
“I don't mind, as long as they can fight and take our objectives on Thera.”
“But we will need them to hold their positions once they're there, the giants, dark elves, yetis and Bigfoots might not be able to do it on their own.”
“Oh well, a couple more weeks will allow the Author to introduce, train and utilise the new TEABAG characters he has just invented for this story.”

Colonel Arthur Pendragon (OOT) was looking at the document files concerning the new goblin personnel that were being made to be part of the East Anglian Special Operations Section. "Blingtinton Smetherwick III, how pretentious," he went on to read out loud, "the seventh son of the king of the Flauban goblins. Has previously worked in both entertainment and publishing industries. Highly intelligent but also a snob. Dislikes dwarves intensely but manages to keep a lid on it." He mused for a second, "I hope that Sid can keep a lid on it."
"On what?" asked his teacup.
Derisively Arthur rebuked his cup, "Would you stop turning yourself into different items to try to get early intel on our operations!"
The cup morphed into Ruhtra, the shape changer. "I say, not enough caffeine in your tea? Grumpy and tired still?"
"Pish posh," pish poshed Arthur as he wafted the documents around in front of Ruhtra, "away with you, and see if you can get Sid for me."
"I am a liaison officer not a servant."
"You can be anything you like, you're a shape changer."
Huffing, Ruhtra left the room to get Colour Sergeant Sid Scubbins.
Sid then entered the room, regimentally, and saluted.
"Very regimental Sid, now at ease,” spoke Arthur.
He stood with legs apart and slapped his hands behind his back.
"Can I trust you not to attack these goblins on sight?" asked Pendragon.
"I am only part dwarf you know. I might only partially attack them."
"That's not good enough, I need their special abilities for this mission we're going on."
"What, you mean they need entertaining or something publishing?"
"What."
"Blingtinton Smetherwick's special abilities are working in the entertainment and publishing industries. Or maybe you think his hatred of dwarves is also a special ability?"
Arthur was embarrassed, "Hum, er..."
"Or maybe you need to cook a chicken in red wine?"
"Huh?"
"Jamestown Vinegrette's special ability." Seeing Arthur's obvious confusion he carried on riding him, "What, haven't you read his bio yet?"
"Well, erm..."
"I'll take that as a no then."
This made Arthur angry, "Look, I'm in charge here, and if you can't promise not to attack the goblins then I'll have to leave you behind."
"I don't think the Author'll like that, his most funniest character left behind."
"He will have me?"
Sid shook his head which made Arthur feel uncomfortable.
"Will you promise?" pleaded the commander with his eyes.
"I suppose I could promise not to attack the goblins, unless it's a really funny piece of visual humour that will help to sell the book series."
"What book series?"
Sid tapped his nose with his forefinger in a knowing way.
"Do you knowing something I don't?"

Sid just smiled. Arthur decided to relent, "I will take your half a promise then. Ask the goblins to come in to see me." He then turned back to read the reports on the other two goblins while Sid exited stage left chased by a bear.